Peppermint and Athletic Performance

Did you know that peppermint has a multitude of beneficial effects on athletic performance?

I won't bore you with too much science, but it has been found that external application of peppermint extract raises your threshold for discomfort. Smelling peppermint was shown to be effective on perceived physical workload, effort, and anxious feelings. Another study demonstrated the effectiveness of peppermint aroma on the improvement of cognitive performance. Studies have also shown that peppermint aroma improved performance on tasks requiring attention, memory, working memory, and visual-motor response and improved the typing performance.  

The effect of supplementation with oral peppermint extract was also studied on perceived leg muscle discomfort and blood lactate levels one hour before a 400 meter running test. In this study, the peppermint had a significant effect on the blood lactate level, but not on the muscle pain. The combination of peppermint oil and ethanol has been reported to have a significant analgesic effect.

Measurement with a Peak Flow Meter device showed an improvement in lung capacity and inhalation ability after inhalation of peppermint aroma. After inhalation of a peppermint aroma, the nasal airflow force increased, this effect supplies more oxygen to the brain, which could have effects on continuing physical performance. 

Another study (you can read the whole journal article here if you are so inclined) found that after 10 days of supplementation with peppermint essential oil showed an enhancing effect on respiratory efficiency and energy expenditure during exercise. The measured functional indicators of exercise performance also showed significant increase in the time to exhaustion and distance.  

The important distinction to make between this study and other studies that have been performed, is that this one used supplementation rather than peppermint odor. The authors of the study say that there is limited evidence of internal supplementation on athletic performance, but it seems like a promising concept from the work they did. 

It's also important to note that all essential oils are not created equal and you should be aware of what you are putting in your body! If you want more information about the brand of oils I use and trust, click here. You can also request a sample by clicking in the box on the sidebar. 

If I had known that something so simple could have such a big impact on athletic performance, I would have started a long time ago! I guess it's time for me to start adding peppermint to my water!

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